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October 19, 2005

Classification of Psychiatric Disorders

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(15):1898-1900. doi:10.1001/jama.294.15.1898

To the Editor: In his Commentary, Dr McHugh1 argues that it is time for psychiatric classification to go beyond the descriptive approach that began with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition (DSM-III),2 which defined and grouped disorders based on shared symptomatology, and instead move toward a system that “helps distinguish causes from symptoms.” He proposes that the next edition of the DSM group the disorders into 4 “etiopathic clusters” according to “what patients have, what they are, what they do, or what they encounter.”

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